Tampa Bay's well-oiled prospect pipeline
February, 8, 2013
By Corey Pronman | ESPN.com
Dave Reginek/Getty ImagesDefenseman Mark Barberio is a one of Tampa Bay's many standout prospects.The Tampa Bay Lightning have steadily built one of the NHL's elite farm systems during Steve Yzerman's tenure as general manager with an effective mix of prospect development, quality scouting and risk-taking to strengthen their organizational depth.
In the salary-cap world of the NHL, it is difficult at times to find teams exhibiting patience when it comes to player development, let alone find teams that have a large amount of top prospects in the AHL. A lot of top under-20 players will make the jump from the CHL to the NHL, or stay in college and Europe before making a brief stop in the American league on their way to the top level. However, Tampa Bay has veered from this model with a lot of good, young players in Syracuse, their AHL affiliate, which won last season's championship (then based in Norfolk) largely due to quality young prospects.